Negotiating Complex Contracts

Project Overview

This project is developing algorithms to enable agents to [help] negotiate complex contracts that include multiple inter-dependent issues and clauses for dealing with failure contingencies. This work is led by Mark Klein, Peyman Faratin, Benjamin Grosof, Chris Dellarocas, Yaneer Bar-Yan and Hiroki Sayama.

The Challenge

Realizing the 'new' economy's potential for radically reduced market friction will require the ability to quickly and cheaply create contracts to exploit new opportunities. Software agent negotiation represents a promising technology fotr this, but work to date has focused almost exclusively on defining contracts consisting of one issue (usually price) or a few independent ones, and has assumed that the contracts are executed as specified. Real-world contracts, by contrast, are much more complex, consisting of multiple inter-dependent issues including those specifying what to do when 'exceptions' occur during contract execution, for example when agents renege on commitments, or critical resources are lost.

Our Vision

This project is developing contract representations and negotiation algorithms to address this challenge, building on the contributions of the MIT Process Handbook project , our previous work on exception handlign and contract representation, and stochastic optimization techniques such as simulated annealing.

Selected Publications

Negotiating Complex Contracts ROMA Working Paper ROMA-WP-2001-01. Cambridge MA USA, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 2001. (Under review at the 2001 ACM Conference on eCommerce).

Using Similarity Criteria to Make Negotiation Trade-Offs International Conference on Multiagent Systems (ICMAS-2000), Boston, MA., 119-126

A Service-Oriented Negotiation Model between Autonomous Agents, Proc. 8th European Workshop on Modeling Autonomous Agents in a Multi-Agent World (MAAMAW-97), Ronneby, Sweden, 17-35.